The air temperature should be between 59-100°F before any testing.
The starting system consists of an ignition switch, starter relay, neutral safety switch, wiring harness, battery, and a starter motor with an integral solenoid. These components form two separate circuits: a high amperage circuit that feeds the starter motor up to 300 or more amps, and a control circuit that operates on less than 20 amps.
Before commencing with the starting system diagnostics, verify:
Starter Feed Circuit
- Connect a volt-ampere tester (multimeter) to the battery terminals.
- Disable the ignition system.
- Verify that all lights and accessories are off, and the transaxle shift selector is in Park (automatic) or Neutral (manual). Set the parking brake.
Rotate and hold the ignition switch in the
position. Observe the volt-ampere tester:
If the voltage reads above 9.6 volts, and the amperage draw reads above 250 amps, go to the starter feed circuit resistance test (following this test).
- After the starting system problems have been corrected, verify the battery state of charge and charge the battery if necessary. Disconnect all of the testing equipment and connect the ignition coil cable or ignition coil connector. Start the vehicle several times to assure the problem was corrected.
Before proceeding with this test, refer to the battery tests and starter feed circuit test. The following test will require a voltmeter, which is capable of accuracy to 0.1 volt.
- Disable the ignition system.
With all wiring harnesses and components (except for the coils) properly connected, perform the following:
- Connect the negative (-) lead of the voltmeter to the negative battery post, and the positive (+) lead to the negative (-) battery cable clamp. Rotate and hold the ignition switch in the START position. Observe the voltmeter. If the voltage is detected, correct the poor contact between the cable clamp and post.
- Connect the positive (+) lead of the voltmeter to the positive battery post, and the negative (-) to the positive battery cable clamp. Rotate and hold the ignition switch key in the START position. Observe the voltmeter. If voltage is detected, correct the poor contact between the cable clamp and post.
- Connect the negative lead of the voltmeter to the negative (-) battery terminal, and positive lead to the engine block near the battery cable attaching point. Rotate and hold the ignition switch in the START position. If the voltage reads above 0.2 volt, correct the poor contact at ground cable attaching point. If the voltage reading is still above 0.2 volt after correcting the poor contact, replace the negative ground cable with a new one.
Remove the heater shield. Refer to removal and installation procedures to gain access to the starter motor and solenoid connections. Perform the following steps:
- Connect the positive (+) voltmeter lead to the starter motor housing and the negative (-) lead to the negative battery terminal. Hold the ignition switch key in the START position. If the voltage reads above 0.2 volt, correct the poor starter to engine ground.
- Connect the positive (+) voltmeter lead to the positive battery terminal, and the negative lead to the battery cable terminal on the starter solenoid. Rotate and hold the ignition key in the START position. If the voltage reads above 0.2 volt, correct poor contact at the battery cable to the solenoid connection. If the reading is still above 0.2 volt after correcting the poor contacts, replace the positive battery cable with a new one.
- If the resistance tests did not detect feed circuit failures, refer to the starter solenoid test.
ON VEHICLE TEST
- Before testing, assure the parking brake is set, the transmission is in Park (automatic) or Neutral (manual), and the battery is fully charged and in good condition.
- Connect a voltmeter from the (S) terminal on the solenoid to ground. Turn the ignition switch to the START position and test for battery voltage. If battery voltage is not found, inspect the ignition switch circuit. If battery voltage is found, proceed to next step.
- Connect an ohmmeter between the battery negative post and the starter solenoid mounting plate (manual) or the ground terminal (automatic). Turn the ignition switch to the START position. The ohmmeter should read zero (0). If not, repair the faulty ground.
- If both tests are performed and the solenoid still does not energize, replace the solenoid.
- Note the radio security code and the radio presets.
- Disconnect the battery negative cable then the positive cable.
- Remove the starter from the vehicle.
- Disconnect the field coil wire from the field coil terminal.
- Check for continuity between the solenoid terminal and field coil terminal with a continuity tester. Continuity (resistance) should be present.
- Check for continuity between the solenoid terminal and solenoid housing. Continuity should be detected. If continuity is detected, the solenoid is good.
- If continuity is not detected in either test, the solenoid has an open circuit, is defective, and must be replaced.
When performing these tests, it is important that the voltmeter be connected to the terminals, not the cables themselves.
Before testing, assure that the ignition control module (if equipped) is disconnected, the parking brake is set, the transmission is in Park (automatic) or Neutral (manual), and the battery is fully charged and in good condition.
- Check voltage between the positive battery post and the center of the B + terminal on the starter solenoid stud.
- Check voltage between the negative battery post and the engine block.
- Disconnect the ignition coil wire from the distributor cap and connect a suitable jumper wire between the coil cable and a good body ground.
- Have an assistant crank the engine and measure voltage again. Voltage drop should not exceed 0.5 volts.
- If voltage drop is greater than 0.5 volts, clean metal surfaces. Apply a thick layer of silicone grease. Install a new cadmium plated bolt and star washer on the battery terminal and a new brass nut on the starter solenoid. Retest and replace cable not within specifications.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
The factory sound system has a coded theft protection system. It is recommended that you know your reset code before you begin.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable.
- Remove all wiring from harness.
- Remove the lower radiator hose from the bracket on the starter motor.
- Remove the starter cable from terminal B located on the back of the solenoid.
- Remove the black/white wire from the S (solenoid) terminal.
- Remove the two bolts that mount the starter to the transaxle assembly.
- Remove the starter.
- Install in the reverse order of removal.
When installing the heavy gauge starter cable, make sure the crimped side of the terminal end is facing out.
- Enter the anti-theft code and radio presets.